from the Wokingham Times, 10 December 1998
The crisp and clear voices of the Wokingham Choral Society really hit the spot in this excellent performance of Brahms' German Requiem at Eton College.
Conductor Edward Gardner brought this monumental devotional work of Brahms to life with great style.
He conveyed the grandeur and complexity of the composition with precision and clarity and led the singers in a performance of glowing warmth.
The exquisite soloists, both recent winners of the coveted Kathleen Ferrier prize, have enviable careers ahead of them if they can maintain the quality that showed on the night.
The soprano soloist Emma Bell sang a radiant version of Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit which matched the hopes and peace of the text.
Mark Stone sang the baritone solos and his true voice blended well with the tone of the chorus.
The performance of the choir showed all the hard, concentrated effort that went into the preparation of this varied and complex work.
The singer's control was quite remarkable. The fall in ...die Blumen abgefallen and the quick crescendos in Aber des Herrn were very neat indeed.
Der Gerechten was also full of excitement and buzz and it was never fuzzy.
The choir's welcoming tone came out particularly in the gentle Wie lieblich sind... and Herr, du bist Würdig was suitably robust.
The rises and falls in the final chorus were also particularly satisfying.
We are grateful to this enthusiastic and committed society for the pleasure they always bring.
On Saturday (December 12th) the society will be giving its annual Carol Concert and All Saints' Church in Wokingham.
It is sure to be a wonderful occasion.